Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Launch of the New Understanding Predation Project
A new initiative by Scotland’s Moorland Forum will improve and provide a wider shared understanding of the relationship between predators and wading and wild game birds.
Scottish Natural Heritage has commissioned the project following discussions with the Scottish Government.
In addition to reviewing scientific knowledge, the novel approach adopted by the project will also allow local knowledge to be incorporated into the work. Member organisations of the Moorland Forum will be invited to provide their views at the start of the project in small focus groups and workshops. At the end of the project, three large seminars, probably held in October 2015, will allow stakeholders to comment on the draft report and see how their input helps shape the final report.
People with an interest in the impact of predation on wading and wild game birds will be encouraged to provide their views and comments throughout the project. Updates on progress will be provided on a regular basis – see below for details.
In developing the proposal, it was accepted that predation is a natural process. Everyone agreed that this work should aim to help achieve and maintain balanced, healthy populations of all wild birds in Scotland. The project will establish and agree the facts, and then consider the effectiveness of existing management options. A report will be published, at the conclusion of this work in January 2016, and this will provide an agreed position from which solutions to the issues can be developed.
There are three main elements of the work: local knowledge will be gathered through the workshops, scientific knowledge of predator-prey interactions in Scotland will be reviewed, and maintaining good internal and external communications will be an essential part of the project. Open discussion and exchange of ideas will be established within the Steering Group, across the Moorland Forum and with all those that have an interest in predator/prey relations. This collaborative approach is an important feature of the project.
Understanding Predation will consider predators, not only as a conservation interest in their own right but will also examine how they interact with vulnerable or declining prey species. The reported decline of wading birds is a cause of great concern, and this project will provide a better and shared understanding of the role that predation has had in this decline. We will investigate the often-controversial disparity between scientific knowledge and local knowledge arising from the direct observations of local people on the ground. We recognise that these differences can lead to conflict, creating a deadlock between theory and practice, which can seriously hamper constructive progress.
Through discussion, the project will provide a shared understanding of the issues, and this will form a platform from which to seek agreement about how we can best move forward for the benefit of all wild bird species in Scotland. Taking such a novel approach is likely to provide some challenges, but we believe that the effort is justified by the potential for the work to provide enormous benefits for nature conservation.
Contacting the Project
Use the contact form on the website; and
Use the comment facility on the blog posts.
Communication from the project
Webpage on the Moorland Forum’s website;
This Project Blog;
e-Newsletters (these will have a ‘Sign Up’option on the bottom);
The Forum’s Twitter account (@moorlandforum) will be used to draw attention to the publication of new information; and
Printed leaflets and progress reports may be used to supplement this electronic output.